Friday, September 30, 2016

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur - BookReview

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta is a tale of five teenagers' adventures. Story was set in small town Rajpur in West Bengal in 1990s, where people spent more time with each other than gadgets. Story can easily bring childhood memories to readers.

Blurb of book goes like this:
It is India of early 1990s - the ‘picturesque’ small-town of Rajpur is in ‘full summer bloom’ and there is a definite sense of mystery in the air. Amidst its scenic setting each year a group of boys band together to spend their summer vacations - going cycling to far-off forests, sharing books, discussing everything under the sky and ogling at girls…
But as youth would have it, their curious minds are more inclined to seek adventure and (hopefully!) uncover some mysterious affair. However, unlike their previous vain attempts, this time certain unusual events and the sudden appearance of a curious case of a ghost in their midst seem to hold the promise of some real adventure.
In the pages of The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur rest assured you will soon be whisked off and plunged into a headlong journey of adventure and romance of your own - on a path of discovery of friendship and brotherhood, of life and love – and, who knows, you might even get to encounter the Speaking Ghost itself!
Story started with siblings' (Soumo and Shoumik) visit to their aunt's place. Shoumik had already visited place many times. Shoumik and Joy (their cousin) were already very close. They always consider Soumo kid and kept him out of their business. It was the first visit for Soumo to Rajpur, though he had heard numerous stories of Shoumik's earlier visits to the place and visualised places and people from his brother's descriptions. Soumo had decided to prove himself to his brothers that he was now capable to considered in their group.

Main story was related to a haunted place few km away from Rajpur. To prove himself worthy Soumo took challenge to enter haunted place alone. His friends joined him in his adventure where they uncovered multiple unsolved mysteries that they heard in last one week. 

Things I liked about book:

  1. Last 80 pages of story where main crux was present
  2. Freedom, roaming, night outs of teenage that mentioned in story
  3. Sketch of guys cycling 

Thing I didn't like:
  1. Apart from few related incidents scattered in initial pages, main story started at page number 220

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5 (Felt nostalgic looking at cover)
  2. Language - 3.5 / 5 (At times too much description made me skip few paras)
  3. Story Line - 3 / 5 (Apart from 2-3 incident scattered here and there, main story started after 65% of pages)
  4. Characters - 3.5 / 5
  5. Overall - 3.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon  & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Action Thriller - 03:02 by Mainak Dhar

I am very glad that I came across thetalespensieve and I applied for giveaway for 03:02 by Mainak Dhar. Otherwise I would have missed an awesome action thriller. During flood in our hometown we had experienced complete black out for a week, well law and order were still intact in most of the parts, but I can still relate many things in story with real incidents that we experienced.

Blurb of the book goes like this:
At 03:02 on a Sunday morning, the world as we knew it came to an end. 
Mumbai suddenly went black — no electricity, no phones, no internet and no working cars. It was as if someone had turned off the master switch of our civilization, turning us back hundreds of years overnight. We learned that it was not just Mumbai, but much of the world that had been impacted. 
We also learned that it was no accident. A deadly enemy was behind it. An enemy that was now in our midst, seeking to conquer us and destroy our way of life. This is how our war for freedom began. A war that was to be waged not on the borders or by the Army, but in our homes and streets, with us as the soldiers. 
This is our story. 
The story of 03:02 starts with a blackout in Mumbai city at 03:02. People took it lightly and went back to their bed. When they woke up in morning finding no electronics or electrical device is working, their life became miserable. A strong heart guy Aditya took things in hand and started directing people to constructive work. Living in a same society for years and not knowing people personally was a common thing in today's world. But blackout brought people together. People who usually seen in lifts and parking lots became partner in daily activities like food, water and other scavenging. 

Well story doesn't end with just one society but same things happened to 70% of world. Which brought anarchy along with blackout. Police, militia and government had their own struggle to keep things in order. Without law and order in Mumbai and many other cities things go beyond imagination. Story was focused on Mumbai specially Patch between International Airport to Powai region. In initial days Aditya faced lot of resistance from society people who were considering power outage was just a temporary phenomena, but as time progressed they understood it was not gonna end soon. 

Using his common tactics and other's help Aditya kept securing his and neighborhood societies from looters and thugs. But they got big shock when they learned the most feared and brutal terrorist group is just 4-5 km away from there location. Instead of giving up to terrorist, Aditya and his Azad Hind Fauj fought till end. (Well I don't want give every twist and turn in my review)

Story was written in first person as Aditya main protagonist. Its fast paced narration which made me finish book in 4 sittings, in spite of its length. Talking about ratings:
  • Cover - 3.5 / 5 
  • Concept - 3.5 / 5 (Not completely new seen similar in Die Hard Movie)
  • Language - 3.5 / 5 
  • Story Line - 4 / 5 (Smooth and Fast Paced)
  • Characters - 4 / 5
  • Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon  & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

I won a review copy from The Tales Pensieve as part of Reviewers Programme. Register on #TTP for lots of #book fun and activities.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Those Immigrants by Scott Haas

Success-stories and mytho-historical-stories are my first choice while picking up a book. I decided to explore other genre and started participating in review-reads. But its a plus when you get your favourite genre for review-read. 'Those Immigrants' by Scott Haas was a compilation of success-stories of 30 Indian in America.

The blurb of the book goes like this:
30 individuals. 1 country. And a zeal to make it to the top. This is the resounding tale of immigrants who journeyed to America and settled for nothing but the best. Stories of hope, belief, dreams, and an indefatigable spirit.
As blurb suggested book indeed shows stories of 30 individual in different domain. Indian have proved their excellency not just in IT but various other domains like Accounting, Law, Economics, Arts, Journalism, Physics, Healthcare, Politics in last 50 years. Author wanted to study how Indians were able to reach the milestone in such short span compared to other immigrant communities.
Instead of focusing too much on IT excellence or Motel-Hotel business, author has explored other domains and found out gems from respective areas.
Few common questions that were asked to each individual during their conversation with Author are:
  • Any particular reason why you came to states.
  • How did you reach to this point? 
  • How did you manage cultural difference?
  • How are you raising your kids with two vastly different culture?
  • What is your advice to new Indians coming to states?
Following these questions, few stories became deep psychological-one while few became to-the point struggle stories. But each story has its own voice. Story tells us how overall positiveness and acceptance of USA has changed their life and way these individuals are supporting both USA and India for better future.

I am great fan of business stories or success stories and that's why I disappointed when I found stories are limited to few psychological questions which author wanted to explore from Indian communities. But overall its an inspiring compilation.

Talking about ratings:
  • Cover - 4 / 5 
  • Concept - 4 / 5 
  • Content - 3 / 5 (Though concept was good but 30 is big number to cover in one book)
  • Language - 4 / 5
  • Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon  & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Unconquerable Heart: God's Fist

"The Unconquerable Heart God's First" when I saw this book first time I perceive it to be a sci-fi fantasy, but it was completely different genre. A fiction work by Shiva Thejus & Sri Vishnu Tanay is different from normal debut authors.

Long blurb of the book goes like this:
Munna Kaalika, a person born with challenged abilities to a Colombian mother and an unknown Indian father, rises to become the ‘Heavy Weight Boxing champion of the World.’ His humble travel from the dingy locales of Sonagachi, Kolkata – the biggest red light area in Asia is not easy. It’s strewn with thorns of abuse and hatred. But four individuals - Kaalika Devi, Sylvia Amdur, Ethan Chapman and Hazeem Okonjo, who have faced insurmountable odds in their own lives back him. Short changed in their own lives, they would go on to lengths at each blockade of prejudice, to back him, in the path towards their combined goal, as he’s their only hope. Kaalika Devi, a male to female transsexual and a Colombian settled in India, who raises Munna, backs him out of pure selfless motherly love. Sylvia Amdur, an American journalist, of Jewish ancestry backs him out of pure dedication. Ethan Chapman, an American ex-professional boxer, of mixed Caucasian and Afro ancestry, backs him cause he’s gotto prove himself to a racist and an egoist individual, who’s put his loved one to shame and suppressed him throughout his life, and Hazeem Okonjo, a female to male transsexual, of Afro-American ancestry, backs him cause he’s got ‘A Radical Social Point’ to prove to the ‘Majority Conformist Society’ – a point that cannot be drilled into an otherwise ruthless and insensitive psyche unless it is not coupled with a ‘Miracle.’ ..........
It took 1 month for me to start this book after I received, and another month to finish after that. Author has gifted this book in exchange of unbiased review. Edition is looking like review or beta, and I found various pointers which has reduced my reading pace, Pointers were corrected in current edition so I am ignoring them for review.

The unconquerable heart is actually a survival stories of five individuals as mentioned in blurb. Munna Kaalika, a deaf and dumb, is the main protagonist of the story. Around Munna others characters woven strongly. Each of these five characters and Munna had went through painful past; and bullied one way of another. Each of them had sacrificed heavily for Munna's future.

Kaalika Devi, whom Munna considered as mother, was actually Carlos. He was Munna's elder brother. He was castrated for money, but saved by Durga Didi. Carlos converted into Kaalika Devi and started working as prostitute. Munna was raised by Kaalika Devi with blind love and Durga Devi with proper discipline. Munna's life changed when a local goon raped Kaalika Devi. Durga Devi intelligently diverted Munna's directionless anger into direction driven workout. After five years of uninterrupted hard work Munna became fearsome personality and avenged his mother's insult. Durga didi sacrificed his freedom to save Munna from criminal cases. Hazeem and Kaalika Devi took help of Ethan Chapman to make Munna a professional boxer.

Other hand, Sylvia who became reason for Munna's new life, entered into Munna's life once again when he was thrown out by Boxing Federation. She sacrificed heavily to bring Munna back into boxing. She and her friend Miranda pulled many strings to give Munna credit for his hard work.

Along with Munna's struggle into Boxing world, each character's immense struggle is detailed in book. Those struggle stories tell us how they reached to current state in story. 

Note : Books is strongly for 18+ age group, it should be kept separately as apart from text there are abusive pictures as well.

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4.5 / 5 
  2. Concept - 4 / 5
  3. Language - 4 / 5
  4. Story Line - 4 / 5 
  5. Characters - 4.5 / 5
  6. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bhima: The Man in the Shadows by Vikas Singh

Epic - Mahabharata is so vast that one can write a complete novel on its characters individually. Recently many mythological or alternate history novels are becoming popular, Vikas Singh has portrayed less individually discussed character in his book. Bhima, second pandava, who was always in shadow of either Yudhisthira or Arjuna is narrating story from his point of view in this book.

Blurb of book goes like this:
I am half-man, half-superhuman. I am the mightiest warrior of my time. I have violated my dharma and murdered a man in cold blood. I have, single-handed, wiped out a whole generation of my kinsmen. I have committed acts of unspeakable brutality on the battlefield. I have done it all for the love of one woman. A woman who loves my brother.
I am Bhima, the second Pandava. This is my story.
Possessed of amazing strength, fierce loyalty and great tenderness, Bhima as a character is almost always eclipsed by Yudhishtira and Arjuna. In spite of his many virtues, he is destined to be remembered as all brawn and biceps. Now, in Vikas Singh’s retelling of the Mahabharata, India’s greatest epic is narrated through the eyes of a hero who has never got his due. A fascinating account of a fascinating character — his extraordinary courage, his obsessive love for Draupadi, his deeply conflicted emotions about his brother, Arjun — this stunning work, written in a racy, entertaining style, provides the definitive answer to the question: What was it like to be Bhima?
There is no point for me to narrate Mahabharata story from Pandava's side as it is well-known. Story was narrated in first person like Bhima is reliving it. For those who have thought Bhima was a mindless fighter to aid Yudhisthira, story tells how he would have felt about that opinion. Few points highlighted about Bhima Character:
  • Bhima had mind of his own but he was bound to duty by her mother
  • He was deeply in love with a person who loved his younger brother. 
  • On moments of heroism or praise, Bhima stood in shadows of Yudhisthira & Arjuna, but he was the first one to appear when Pandavas were in need
Apart from Bhima's character, things I found new in book are:
  • Author has extended his imagination in book, and showed Devas and God as alien species to earth. 
  • Special powers and god acts were described in technological words, e.g. telepathy, Arjun's castrate, deva's vehicles. 
Pace of book was really too fast. Merely 180 pages for one of the major character is not proper justice to Bhima. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5 (For Bhimas Portrait) 
  2. Concept - 3 / 5
  3. Language - 2.5 / 5 (Specially due to recent time slang like f**k)
  4. Story Line - 3 / 5 
  5. Characters - 3 / 5
  6. Overall - 3 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon  & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads